Rem Koolhaas is among this year’s recipients of the 15th Praemium Imperiale for his achievements in the field of architecture. The Praemium Imperiale is awarded by the Japan Art Association.
The Praemium Imperiale is awarded in five disciplines: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Music and Theatre/Film. The laureates for 2003 are Bridget Riley (Painting), Mario Merz (Sculpture), Rem Koolhaas (Architecture), Claudio Abbado (Music) and Ken Loach (Theatre/Film). Artists are recognized for their achievements, for the impact they have had internationally on the arts and for their role in enriching the global community. The five laureates each receive an honorarium of 15 million yen (c. € 105,000), a diploma and a medal presented to them by Prince Hitachi, the Japanese Emperor’s younger brother and honorary patron of the Japan Art Association, in an awards ceremony in Tokyo on October 23rd.
According to the Japan Art Association, Koolhaas receives the award for being “a leading teacher, theorist and writer, asides from being an artist and innovator in the vanguard of architectural practice. His buildings, like his writings, examine and revise conventional solutions, and are full of remarkable, surprising as well as pragmatic answers. On closer look, what might seem provocative and radical can be seen to be extremely rational.”
Previous laureates of the Praemium Imperiale include David Hockney and Anselm Kiefer (both for Painting), Richard Serra (Sculpture), Frank Gehry (Architecture), Leonard Bernstein (Music) and Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini (both for Theatre/Film).
International Advisors to the Japan Art Association chair nomination committees and propose candidates for the annual awards. Japan Art Association selection committees make the final selections. International Advisors include several prominent statesmen and business leaders: Umberto Agnelli, Edward Heath, Yasuhiro Nakasone and Richard von Weizsäcker. Honorary advisors are Jacques Chirac, David Rockefeller and Helmut Schmidt.
During their stay in Tokyo for the awards ceremony, the laureates had an audience with the Emperor and Emperess of Japan.